Family Magazine

Old Vs. New

By Sherwoods
We've now been in our house for two weeks.  I'm always nervous about moving to a new house because, although I like change, I don't like change.  Change is fun and exciting, but it also means that all of the things that I really liked about my former situation aren't there anymore.  But change also means that all the irritating things magically go away.
When I first got the pictures of our house, I was seriously unimpressed.  I got the email with the housing assignment information while I was running one morning, and I spent half the run poring through the pictures on my phone while half freezing to death on the last cold morning of the spring.  The pictures were small, poorly lit, and not very comprehensive.  My initial impression was "Hm, that looks really dark and small.  I am really disappointed right now."
But I got some more pictures from the lady (also Mormon) who was currently living in the house and it looked better than the housing pictures, so I was carefully optimistic.
When we moved in, I was prepared to be disappointed, but instead was really impressed.  This house is the nicest house we've ever lived in, and will most likely be the nicest house we will ever live in until Brandon and I retire with fabulous amounts of wealth and build our dream home.  Or maybe it will just be the nicest house we will ever live in.
But, as with all houses, not everything is perfect.  There are some things that I like more than our last house, and there some things I like less.  I've lived in enough places by now to realize that a perfect house is a complete myth - just like a perfect job, children, or family.  You just take what you've got and make it work for you.
But, there are a lot of things I like about this house.  Our last house was a duplex and so only had a front yard.  The back and side of the house looked out onto a public alleyway and a back road.  I could sit in my bathroom and listen to conversations happening two or three feet away.  Sometimes we would be woken up by particularly loud clompers as they made their way up the stairs just outside our bedroom window.  It wasn't exactly private.
This house is its own freestanding house (which is actually somewhat rare in the housing pool here), so we can walk entirely around it.  There is a front yard, side yard, and back yard, all with their own grass.  I was shocked to find out that there are in-ground sprinklers.  Granted, they aren't hooked up to a timer, but I'll take turning a lever any day over moving sprinklers. 
And, of course, there's the pool.  We have the largest pool in the embassy community and have made a lot of good use of it.  I make the children play outside every day, and it really is nice to have a pool for them to play in when it's a hundred degrees outside.  I love not having to drive anywhere and being able to to jump in for half an hour on a whim.  It's so great having a pool that I've now added 'pool' to the list of things that I want in my eventual home. 
This house has more living space than than the last one.  Instead of one big downstairs room, we now have a living room, an enormous dining room, and a TV room.  Yes, a TV room.  It's not like we watch TV very often, but when we do, there's an entire room - with a recliner - for watching it in.  There isn't a dedicated study upstairs, but there is a very large landing where we keep all 2,000 pounds of our books.  We also have a study nook outside our bedroom where the computer lives.  I really liked our study in Dushanbe - it was cozy and very light with an entire wall of windows - and I still miss it.  But, our reading area is pretty light, and it's actually very convenient to have it centrally located.  Easier to see the mess, however.
The bathrooms in this house are a definite upgrade.  Instead of two small, windowless bathrooms on the second floor, we now have four bathrooms, two with windows.  Our bathroom has a window that gets sunlight in the morning, so I have to remember to shut the door every night so I don't get woken at 4:30 in the morning by sunshine.  We only have a half bath on the first floor, but it holds the distinction of being the Russel M. Nelson Memorial Bathroom.  The prophet visited when he was still an apostle, and used our stunningly green half bath.  I'm still sad that we missed it.
The bedrooms are of mostly similar size to our last house, but we managed to lose a bedroom.  Our house in Dushanbe technically had seven bedrooms, but we used one as a study and one as a storage room.  The baby had its own room and we had a dedicated guest bedroom.  Now we only have four bedrooms, which is too bad.  I've moved Eleanor in with William and she gets to sleep on the queen-sized bed.  She's pretty happy with the arrangement and now the big girls won't keep her up at night.
Our new kitchen is significantly smaller - almost half the size - than our last kitchen.  However, it does has a full-sized American gas range, so I'll have to give it points for that.  We were able to squeeze a kitchen table (actually two tables pushed together) in so we can eat in it, so I've made it work.  I also love my enormous sink that can fit a jelly roll pan laying down in it. 
The biggest downside about this house is its basement.  Our house in Dushanbe didn't have a basement, instead having a third floor.  It was entirely open, making a really great space for playing, homeschooling, exercising, watching TV, and painting (back when I had time to paint).  Now we have a basement chopped up in to a school room, toy room, boiler room, and exercise room.  All of the rooms are more than large enough for our needs, but I miss how light the third floor was.  I hate dark rooms and I'm not sure how much I'll like spending a major portion of my day down in the basement.  However, it is nice to only be one floor away from the main floor now and it's nice to have a door on the toy room. 
Our new house has much nicer finishing touches (no styrofoam molding!).  The floor are real wood, the kitchen has ceramic tiles, and the stairs are a uniform height.  There is a lot of lighting and I can turn on all of the air conditioners in the entire house without having any power issues.  The entire house is wallpapered, which seems to be standard here.  It's pretty gold, but at least it doesn't wash off like the paint did at our last house.  The windows have screens on them, which will be nice in the spring and fall. 
So, on the whole, I'm enjoying our new house.  I definitely feel like we've taken a step up, which is a nice place to be in.  Of course this means that we'll probably take a step down next time we move, but I'll enjoy it while I can!

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